Drug-induced diarrhea is frequently suspected in patients who develop it soon after starting a new medication. Diarrhea can be broadly categorized based on the following stool characteristics: watery, a category that includes changes in ion transport, or increased motility inflammatory, and fatty. Osmotic diarrheas can occur from intentional use of a drug as part of its mechanism of action, or unintentionally. Secretory diarrhea, in contrast to osmotic diarrhea, produces voluminous stools that persist despite fasting. It has been speculated that anticholinergic drugs, which most often cause constipation by reducing intestinal motility, and the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole, can cause watery diarrhea. Most cases of drug-induced diarrhea resolve spontaneously within a few days after withdrawal of the drug, or with dose reduction. If diarrhea is severe or persistent, patient management should include replenishment of any fluid and electrolyte deficits with oral hydration or, if warranted, with intravenous fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEvidence-based Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781119211419
ISBN (Print)9781119211389
StatePublished - Mar 5 2019


  • Anticholinergic drugs
  • Drug-induced diarrhea
  • Fatty diarrhea
  • Inflammatory diarrhea
  • Intestinal motility
  • Osmotic diarrhea
  • Patient management
  • Proton pump inhibitor
  • Secretory diarrhea
  • Watery diarrhea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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